November – First Week : prepare the ground for planting of all kinds of fruit tree
November – Second Week : the sooner planting of fruit trees can be done the better, to enable them to get established before severe weather sets in
Percy Thrower, In Your Garden with Percy Thrower, 1959
You’ve picked, bought, cooked, preserved, eaten and frozen this year’s Damsons, and the season’s over. If you haven’t got your own, and you’ve got the space for one (or a few – a Damson orchard, lucky you!), how about buying a Damson tree, to plant yourself or as a gift? See Pots2Plots for a good overview of growing Damsons.
Now’s the time to order : fruit tree suppliers, garden centres and plant nurseries will be gearing up to sell young Damson trees from November to March. Expect to pay from £15 for a bare root maiden tree, and more for more established versions, which may be available all-year-round in containers. A typical range, from £18 to £48, is offered by Botanica Plant Nursery in Suffolk:
- Bare root maiden – young single stemmed first year tree £18
- Bare root feathered maiden – second year or older tree pruned to create multiple small side branches £22
- Bare root half standard – an establishing tree with a clear stem, older than a feathered. It has been pruned and worked in the nursery by skilled hands to start creating the crown of the tree £36
- 20 litre pot – a semi-formed tree which has started bearing fruit £48
My Guide to Damsons lists 30 online suppliers of Damson trees. Their websites often give buying, planting and growing tips. Check out suppliers selling 5 or more varieties – Chris Bowers, Deacon’s Nursery, Harley Nursery, John’s Market Garden, Keepers Nursery, Orange Pippin Trees, and Trees For Life.
The top varieties on sale are Merryweather (sold by 91% of the suppliers in my Guide), Shropshire Prune (66%), and Farleigh (56%) – or why not try Blue Violet, Bradleys King, King of the Damsons, Delma, or the rare Welsh Abergwyngregyn?
Happy planting, and may your efforts be fruitful!